I gave the command, and they were off. Jumping from their places on the floor and couch, the children scattered to all corners of the house. They searched under couch cushions, in drawers, and in pockets of coats hanging in the front hall closet. They rummaged through my old purses, a swim bag hanging in the laundry room and in my jewelry bowl on my dresser. They scowered the car. They found their own stash in jars hidden in their bedrooms and they gathered the treasures from spaces and places where “extras” were kept.
Quarters. Dimes. Nickles. Pennies. Change. That is what they were after. One by one, screams of glee would echo through our home, “I found some more! I found a quarter! I’ll be right there. I found a lot!” And gradually a pile of change began to accumulate on a dish towel, in the middle of our family room floor.
"Change 4 Change 4 Jesus" I coined it. (No pun intended! J) Seems like the Lord gives me the best ideas when I am driving in the car, alone – maybe it’s because I finally have a chance to sit down and think. I was pondering the question “Am I really making a difference? How can I touch people near and far this Christmas? There are people hurting everywhere, but what can I do – we do – to help bring about the change that is needed in the hearts of people, showing them the love of Jesus?”
I glanced down at the cup where I store my coins. The thought sprang in to my mind -- “Use this cup of change – all your change -- to bring hope.” And the idea was born – “Change 4 Change 4 Jesus.”
After gathering up the coins, leaving no couch cushion or bowl unturned, we sat down as a family and counted the money. Making piles of each coin in to smaller piles, we sorted and organized. We made guesses on how much we had ($70, $68, $78, $75, $73 and $80) and then enthusiastically went around the room, adding the totals together. To our absolute amazement we had $127.50 in quarters, $34.40 in dimes, $13.65 in nickels and $10.15 in pennies – for a grand total of $185.70!
Either we are very poor guessers or somehow God multiplied the money, given cheerfully, like He did the fishes and the loaves. I’ll never know, but we had a lot.
We wrote down ideas on how we would distribute the money. All sorts of opportunities came to mind – friends and neighbors in need, a family at church who recently lost their job, a friend struggling with grief, the local emergency shelter, our troops, our school, our church. We thought about sharing it with local community services, missionaries, our Christian radio station, a widow friend of ours and the Salvation Army. Then we took all our ideas and went to the Lord in prayer, thanking Him for the amount that we found, and asking Him to help us determine how He would want us to use this money -- His money.
After praying, voting and discussing we came to this -- we would help a family in our church that recently lost their job and we would send some of our money to Gospel for Asia, buying 4 chickens and 1 goat, to help families in India come out of poverty and know the love of Jesus. Anything left over we would use to brighten someone’s day in an unexpected way -- maybe someone who is sad, lonely or despairing.
Dear reader, I invite you to join our family’s “Change 4 Change for Jesus Challenge.” This Christmas season (and throughout the year) take time to get together as a family and search your home for change that can make a difference in the world. Make it fun and make it special. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Whether you find $2.00 or $200.00, ask the Lord to show you who He wants you to minister to with your “change.” The world is full of people in need, near and far – financial needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs. One by one, we CAN make a difference and be a blessing to a world that is hurting, in the name of Jesus.
PS – One more thing – will you come back and let us know what you did and the ideas that you came up with regarding whom to help? We’d love to hear your ideas, and they may spur others on, as well. And pass it on to your friends and family … let’s make this Christmas a time of revival in giving, in the name of Jesus!